If you and a friend have ever performed a balancing act on a teeter totter you know that even the most subtle movements can throw you off, and so it is with life. This summer I fell out of balance in every area of my life and now I am going to begin the art of restructuring.
Balance requires mindfulness.
That is apparent even on the playground teeter totter. Attention is heightened. Awareness of any movement is keen. I remember a deep sense of accomplishment sitting on a plank of wood, hovering in the air, smiling at my friend who was doing exactly the same thing. We succeeded. We were balanced… until we weren’t.
One bite won’t hurt.
It started with a potato salad in June. I fell out of balance with that first bite. Another bite couldn’t hurt. I had been so good. I was actively nurturing a supportive lifestyle that included; diet, exercise, and a meditation practice, but man that potato salad was incredible, dare I say euphoric.
A couple weeks later we had a family reunion. My contribution to the meal was a spinach salad, and with over 175 attendees and two meals served, my salad survived. My mom had some. She said she felt sorry for it. The feast included two full tables of desserts. Two. I made careful meal selections but when it came to dessert I splurged. I convinced myself the dessert I picked was a healthier option, if you can even say that when caramel is one of the ingredients. A sample of this, and a taste of that produced a food hangover the next day. It was time to refocus and I did, but then other areas of my life went to hell taking me further away from my goals. A month later, having completely fallen out of balance in every area, I’m starting over again. Life is, after all, about cycles.
Just like that life went to hell.
I quit my job because of a fight with my boss. It was a fight that played out over days after a period of separation. I was thankful because I was uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to quit. His bad day became my catalyst. Anger permeated my being. The interaction played over and over in my head. I couldn’t shake it. I was furious with him. In that state I discovered a few more things I was furious about. Anger requires a lot of energy. It is exhausting, and it is not an experience I want on a daily basis. I was out of balance.
I quit exercising. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I simply didn’t have the energy to exercise. I should have. It would have helped dissipate the anger, but I didn’t. I was out of balance.
I started giving myself permission to have more cheat meals and eat junk. I was out of balance.
I don’t have a plan for generating an income beyond relying on my husband. I am out of balance.
It’s time to restructure.
Exhaustion kicked in. Suddenly everything could wait. I needed to rest, and I allowed myself to do so. That may sound funny given that I didn’t need permission from anyone, but anyone hasn’t been my problem. I have. I’m hard on myself. I think I need to be doing. I think I need to have something to show for my day. I have associated resting with wasting, but the exhaustion was deep enough that all I could do was surrender. Step One: Rest.
Step Two: Make mindful food choices. That means I’m going to start sprouting again, growing wheatgrass, and eating a more alkaline diet heavy on the greens. Good-bye sugar! It’s not you, it’s me.
Step Three: Exercise. Yesterday I went for an hour-long bike ride. This was followed by a nap. My endurance is lacking. Today was worse. It felt like I have never exercised a day in my life. I was miserable. What was meant to be aerobic turned into a walk, a slow one at that. It’s okay. I will try again tomorrow.
Step Four: Meditate. That never completely went away, but my focus isn’t what it was. I’m either on the brink of sleep, or I can’t remember what my original intention was.
Step Five: Create a schedule. I’m adding this because I am not actively employed, and I need to be. If I don’t create an outline for my day they will become a blur of days leaving me to wonder where my time has gone.
Colored in all of the steps is permission to start over without chastisement, or guilt.
I enjoyed the splurges, the sangria and crab stuffed walleye. I ate rich desserts and got too much sun. I felt my emotions instead of suppressing them. I honored myself by choosing how I would be treated by others. The elastic of my life got stretched, pulled, and reshaped. I fell out of balance and now I am starting fresh, which has always been my favorite place to start.